The opening of the £1billion Liverpool One redevelopment was a proud moment for Vetter UK as they completed their largest natural stone project to date. Vetter UK undertook 8 packages of work with a value of £10m, including flooring, cladding, screeding and public realm works across the whole development.
The main contractor was Laing O’Rourke, who alongside BDP, the masterplan architects, worked alongside the 26 different architects who designed the different areas for client, Grosvenor Estates. The development was broken down into areas, either a building or public area and given a unique number for identification purposes.
For the cladding element of the works, Vetter UK designed, supplied and installed 4,351m² of cladding to six areas of the project in five different stones from the UK, Germany and China. The Public Realm works involved the supply and installation of approximately 21,500m² of Chinese Granite public realm paving and 3,000m² of screeding across the three levels of ‘streets’. A combination of grey granites was chosen for the paving to the central portion of the development, the surrounding streets and the area leading down to the docks. The mid grey granite was chosen for the paving on the upper level Galleria and Plateau, which houses the cinema and restaurants. To provide contrast to the grey stones, yellow granite was specified as the main stone for the top portion of the development, Chavasse Park. This involved cladding to the dwarf walls and seating areas adjacent to the Liverpool Law Courts, in addition to cladding to the lower and upper main terrace walls.
The most technically demanding area of the whole project was known as ‘The Cut’, which provided for ‘twisted’ inclined shell limestone cladding to the sides of the escalators leading to the upper level. The design was undertaken in-house and the challenge was to convert the architect’s concept of having “sides to ‘The Cut’ which slope at a variable angle, radiate about an axis yet when viewed from the front are perfectly horizontal and line up with the joint pattern of the adjacent right angled walls”...... with a buildable solution.
The design solution resulted in every stone being unique in size and shape, but typical in the way it is fixed to the steelwork substrate. A mock up was made to test installation techniques and support fixings before the go ahead was give for full manufacture. The lessons learnt were invaluable when it came to the site installation of the individual stones, which had to be winched up an incline and fixed in position on stainless steel adjustable pedestal fixings, making sure that the ‘three dimensional’ alignment of slope, height and radial was achieved. The limited space and restricted access under the zig zag staircase, coupled with the varying weights and shapes of the stone made this no easy task.
The development was officially opened in two parts, by The Queen in June 2008 and The Princess Royal in October 2008; it comprises retail, residential, commercial and public realm.